In the 11th chapter of the second book of Samuel, we read how King David saw Bathsheba in the evening: ‘v.2. And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king's house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon.’.
To the student of the recent history of theological ideas in the West, it sometimes seems as though, of all the ‘new’ subjects that have been intro duced into theological discussion during the last hundred or so years, only two have proved to be of permanent significance. One is, of course, biblical criticism, and the other, the subject which in my University is still called ‘comparative religion’—the dispassionate study of the religions of the world as phenomena in their own right.
Gordon Kaufman is a theologian who wrestles with essential theological issues. In a recent amplification of his position, An Essay on Theological Method , 1 he makes an honest attempt to describe the method by which a self-critical theologian might work. This paper sets out a critique of the method Kaufman proposes and from that delineates a path which theologians might choose to follow.
Disorder and suffering are increasing significantly in our society. Violent crime, unemployment, escape through drug-taking are all on the increase. It is apparent, also, that much of this disorder and suffering, and the anxiety it fosters, is rooted in science and its technological off-spring. The un-employment produced by a micro-technology is only one small example. It is also apparent that one of the principal foundation stones for the scientific enterprise was Christianity.
This paper examines Slavoj Zizek’s reading of Immanuel Kant. Its undergirding argument is that Zizek’s work as a whole- up to and including his politically radical statements, which have become more and more prominent since 1997- is conceivable as a project in the rereading of the Kantian ‘Copernican Revolution’ via Lacanian psychoanalysis. Critics now agree that Zizek’s orienting aim is to write a philosophy of politics, as more recent texts, like The Ticklish Subject make clear. (Kay, 2003; Sharpe, 2004; (...) Dean 2006) If Zizek’s philosophy is ultimately a philosophy of politics, however, Zizek’s political philosophy is grounded in a wider post or ‘neo’-Kantian philosophy of subjectivity. The essay has three major parts. Part I gives Zizek’s reading of Kant on the subject of apperception. Part II recounts Zizek’s pivotal reading of Kant on the sublime, which he ties closely to the problematics of the ‘Transcendental Dialectic’ of the first Critique. Part III then examines Zizek’s conception of subjectivity in terms of the faculties (and especially the faculty of imagination) that Kant argues are involved in the transcendental constitution of objects in the first half of The Critique of Pure Reason. In the Conclusion, the force of the paper’s subtitle—‘Politicising the Transcendental Turn’—will become manifest. I lay out three principles of Zizek’s ‘neoKantian/Hegelian’ ontology. These also make clear how his philosophy of political agency is grounded in this apparently suprapolitical or solely philosophical reading of Kant. . (shrink)
Sharpe, Matthew Let me begin with words from a different, more optimistic time: 'For it may be truly affirmed to the honour of these times, and in a virtuous emulation with antiquity, that this great building of the world had never throughlights made in it, till the age of us and our fathers. For although they had knowledge of the antipodes,... yet that might be by demonstration, and not in fact; and if by travel, it requireth the voyage but (...) of half the globe. But to circle the earth, as the heavenly bodies do, was not done nor enterprised till these later times: and therefore these times may justly bear in their word, not only plus ultra, in precedence of the ancient non ultra,... but likewise imitabile c lum ; in respect of the many memorable voyages after the manner of heaven about the globe of the earth. And this proficience in navigation and discoveries may plant also an expectation of the further proficience and augmentation of all [the] sciences; because it may seem they are ordained by God to be coevals, that is, to meet in one age. For so the prophet Daniel speaking of the latter times foretelleth, 'Many shall pass over, and knowledge shall be increased': as if the openness and circumnavigation of the world and the increase of knowledge were appointed to be in the same ages; as we see it is already performed in great part: the learning of these later times not much giving place to the former two periods or returns of learning, the one of the Greeks, the other of the Romans...'. (shrink)
As a child brought up among animals, Lynne Sharpe never doubted they were essentially ‘creatures like us’. It came as a shock to learn that others did not agree. Here she exposes the bizarre way in which many philosophers — including even some great and humane ones — have repeatedly talked and written about animals. They have discussed the topic in terms of non-existent abstract ‘animals’, conceived as defective humans, entirely neglecting the experience of people who have wide practical (...) knowledge of companion animals — such as horses and dogs — through working with them. She testifies to the interesting nature of these creatures’ lives, noting that the usual narrow approach to animals carries with it also a distorted notion of human life as essentially cerebral and language-centred. (shrink)
In _Camus, Philosophe: To Return to our Beginnings_ Matthew Sharpe reads Camus as a _philosophe_ in the classical and enlightenment lineages, arguing that his defense of _mesure_ singles him out amidst 20th century French thought and makes him of renewed relevance today.
In this book, Sharpe changes that by setting out his state-of-the-art approach to asset pricing in a nonmathematical form that will be comprehensible to a broad range of investment professionals, including investment advisors, money ...
Robert Sharpe examines the humanist conception of music as a language--as expressive and intelligible--which has been a dominant theory in Western culture. He argues against the view that music is expressive by causing certain states in us. Rather, he contends that our beliefs about music are integral to our appreciation of it. Differences in musical taste are then not just irresolvable differences in sensitivity, but the result of variations in circumstance and upbringing, of associations and ideology.
Making the Human Mind is an attack on the widespread assumption that the mind has parts, that the interaction between these parts accounts for some of the most characteristic human behavior, the sorts of irrational behavior displayed in self-deception and weakness of will. The implications of this attack are considerable: Sharpe contests a realism about the mind, the belief that there is an inventory which an all-seeing deity could compile containing answers to all the questions we ask about people, (...) whether they are deceitful or in love, or what their motivation is. With this goes the hermeneutic approach to the understanding of human behavior. These forms of understanding are markedly different from that suggested by the scientific model and favored by those who partition the mind. (shrink)
"Making the Human Mind" is an attack on the widespread assumption that the mind has parts and that it is the interaction between these parts which accounts for some of the most characteristic human behaviour, the sorts of irrational behaviour displayed in self-deception and weakness of will. The implications of this attack are considerable: Professor Sharpe contests a realism about the mind, the belief that there is an inventory which an all-seeing deity could compile and which could contain answers (...) to all the questions we could ask about people. With this goes a hermeneutic approach to the understanding of human behaviour: these forms of understanding are markedly different from that suggested by the scientific model and favoured by those who partition the mind. Finally, the author undermines eliminative materialism and the idea that the way we talk about the mind constitutes a "folk psychology", arguing that what is distinctively human about the human mind has been created by self-consciousness and is self-created. (shrink)
Three arguments are proposed against the idea that ordinary talk about the mind constitutes a folk psychology, a sort of prescientific theory which explains human behaviour and which is ripe for replacement by a neurological or computational theory with better scientific credentials. First, not all talk of the mind is introduced to explain in the way assumed by those who think that mental talk hypothesizes inner processes to explain behaviour. Second, the individuation of the behaviour which is explained by the (...) inner processes itself requires reference to ?mental? states such as intentions or desires. Consequently the project is circular. Finally, scientific theory is a practice with a history which may be matched in the case of ordinary talk of the mind. Certainly ordinary talk of motives, intentions, and thoughts may be infected by the theorizing of economists and sociologists et al., but it is impossible that all talk of the mind should be theoretical in this way. (shrink)
Carol Gilligan has identified two orientations to moral understanding; the dominant justice orientation and the under-valued care orientation. Based on her discernment of a voice of care, Gilligan challenges the adequacy of a deontological liberal framework for moral development and moral theory. This paper examines how the orientations of justice and care are played out in medical ethical theory. Specifically, I question whether the medical moral domain is adequately described by the norms of impartiality, universality, and equality that characterize the (...) liberal ideal. My analysis of justice -oriented medical ethics, focuses on the libertarian theory of H.T. Engelhardt and the contractarian theory of R.M. Veatch. I suggest that in the work of E.D. Pellegrino and D.C. Thomasma we find not only a more authentic representation of medical morality but also a project that is compatible with the care orientation's emphasis on human need and responsiveness to particular others. (shrink)
Foucault's theoretical framework -- Foucault's monsters as genealogy : the abnormal individual -- An English legal history of monsters -- Changing sex : the problem of transsexuality -- Sharing bodies : the problem of conjoined twins -- Admixing embyros : the problem of human/animal hybrids -- Conclusion.
This article is a reconsideration of Tesch's (1977) ethical, educational, and methodological functions for debriefing through a literature review and an Internet survey of authors of articles published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and Journal of Traumatic Stress . We advocate for a larger ethical role for debriefing in nondeception research. The educational function of debriefing is examined in light of the continued popularity of undergraduate participant pools. A case is made for the methodological function of debriefing (...) to clarify aspects of research participation. Recommendations are made to improve the conducting and reporting of debriefings. (shrink)
This article critiques recent UK transgender law reform. The Gender Recognition Act 2004 is to be welcomed in many respects. Formerly one of the European states most resistant to social change in this area, the UK now occupies pole position among progressive states willing to legally recognise the sex claims of transgender people. This is because the UK is, at least ostensibly, the first state to recognise sex claims irrespective of whether applicants have undertaken any surgical procedures or had hormonal (...) treatments. The article highlights the significance of this development through providing an overview of the trajectory of common law reform around the world. The legislation clearly benefits transgender people unable to undertake surgery due to financial reasons and/or medical contra-indications. It also benefits transgender people whose search for harmony does not require surgical intervention. However, the Act also perpetuates a mental illness model for understanding transgender desires; contributes to the break-up of legally recognised marriages; insists on the permanence of gender crossings and assumes that surgery will occur. The Act also contains exceptions to the generality of legal recognition provided by the state. In this respect the article considers concessions to religious and sporting lobbies. Finally, the article highlights how non-disclosure of gender history prior to a marriage assumes a kind of legal significance under the Act which non-disclosure of other facts generally lacks in relation to marriage. In this regard, the article will contend that a biological understanding of sex operates as a subtext within the Act. (shrink)
This paper looks at two 20th century theories of tragedy: those of Cornelius Castoriadis and Albert Camus. The theories that each proffer of this ancient cultural form are striking. Against more standard views, both theorists stress that tragedy is a cultural form that has only arisen historically in cultures whose forms of religious thought have been laid open to question. In this way, both argue that tragedy is an important democratic cultural form, which stages the confrontation between a no longer (...) unquestionable divine order, and human autonomy.The intent of the paper, from the start, is a political one. It wants to place Camus alongside Castoriadis as a 'post-Marxist' thinker, who belongs meaningfully to what Dick Howard has called 'the Marxian legacy'. More than this, it aims to do this by staging Camus' theorisation of tragedy, with Castoriadis', as a powerful riposte to the conservative criticism of democracy as a modern political form, that is, that it cannot muster sacral cultural forms forceful enough to meaningfully unite people beneath its banner. (shrink)
This essay is a critique of Derrida's ethical works, using Camus's last novella The Fall as a critical sounding board. It argues that a danger pertains to any such highly self-reflexive position as Derrida's: a danger that Camus identified in The Fall, and staged in his character, Jean-Baptiste Clamence. Clamence is a successful Parisian lawyer, on top of his personal and professional life, whose equanimity is troubled after he is the unwitting passer-by as a young woman suicides one night on (...) the Seine. After this time, he comes to consider all his former virtues as concealed vices. He also becomes acutely aware of what he terms the 'duplicity' of human beings as such. In Part I, I consider how Clamence's fall from innocence can be read 'with' Derrida's deconstructive registration of a 'double bind' pertaining to our standing vis-á-vis what he terms 'logocentrism'. I argue that Derrida's is a post-lapsarian philosophy, which challenges all attempts to construct closed conceptual systems that would confer an epistemic and/or moral certitude upon their expositors. In Part II, I then enter into a more detailed exposition of Derrida's 'later' works broaching friendship, the invitation, the gift, and other 'matters moral'. I read these texts in the light of an examination of what is involved, for Camus, in being a 'judge-penitent' (what Clamence in The Fall calls his profession). I suggest that Derrida runs the risk of a certain 'puritanism of difference' in his moral reflections, which defend the aporetic formulation: 'tout autre est tout autre' [every other is every bit other] (The Gift of Death). The problem is that, while Derrida's position allows one (everywhere) to say what one is against, it problematizes any affirmative moral stance. Like Clamence, who assumes the right to judge everyone else because he has subjected himself to a severe penitence, I suggest that we have a right to wonder whether Derrida's deconstructive critique of metaphysics can validate only endless repetitions of itself. Key Words: Camus Derrida ethics The Fall innocence 'puritanism of difference. (shrink)
Michael Ruse's writings explore what sociobiology says about morality. Further, he claims that sociobiology undermines the base for Christian morality. After responding to criticisms of Ruse, especially those of Arthur Peacocke, I lay a base for meeting his challenge.